In the Golden Days of Radio, back in the 1930s to the 1950s, most popular radio series had a set time for going out each week. Occasionally, there might be a change in the schedule, but on the whole a consistent time-slot was something that helped build a large audience and so was something the big networks aimed to achieve.
One exception to this rule was the dramatic adventure anthology series called Escape, whose time-slot shifted an incredible eighteen times in its seven-year run from 1947 through to 1954. To make matters even worse it had a habit of coming and going and sometimes disappearing off the schedules altogether at short notice for weeks on end only to resurface weeks later in a completely different timeslot.
The quite flagrant disregard CBS paid to having a regular timeslot for Escape could make you think that it was just a run-of-the-mill series that was nothing but a lightweight filler for those times when the regular show was off-the-air, such as during the quiet summer months. In my opinion, and that of many old radio aficionados, this couldn't be further from the truth. Escape is probably the best adventure anthology ever broadcast.
Escape brings together everything that was good about old-time radio drama rolled into one. The title itself almost sums up the very essence of what radio drama is all about. Each of the episodes was a micro drama carefully planned to capture the listeners attention for thirty minutes. Over two-hundred episodes were made and almost all of them are as good today as they were over half a century ago. For the first few years the series was on air the announcement at the start of the show varied almost every week, but by the 1950s it had settled down to be the now famous:
Tired of the everyday grind? Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you ... ESCAPE!
This may give the wrong impression as Escape was far more than a swashbuckling adventure yarn. It was a brilliantly scripted and superbly produced series that brought to listeners adaptations of classic works by famous writers as well as brand new work by unknown talent. Many of the stories were later reused by more high profile shows such as Suspense, but on the whole the Escape versions were of equal quality and sometimes more dramatically focused and atmospheric.
When Radio Life wrote "These stories all possess many times the reality that most radio writing conveys", it hit the nail on the head. This is a quality show in every way.
If you've never listened to this wonderful series it's well worth taking the time to listen to it. Whether you listen in the car on your daily commute, whilst doing the housework, relaxing in your favorite easy-chair, or snuggled up in bed - you really will be thrilled!
It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.
If you are interested in preserving old time radio, you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Yahoo.
This is the Single Episode Page. The Certified Set includes extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Certified Set. This page is provided in case you want to sample the shows.
Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to archive.org naming requirements.
Relax, listen, and enjoy!
OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that is Certified Accurate indicates that all the episodes are properly identified and labeled but that the series does not contain all known extant episodes.
OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that is Certified Complete is the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implies that all the files in the series are Certified Accurate but also indicates that the series is as complete as possible – it includes all extant episodes.
OTRR Non-Certified -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Certification process.
April 29, 2019 Subject:
Wonderful Anthology Series
Easily a top 3 OTR series for me. Great stories, great production, and a fantastic collection of voice actors.
My top 15 episodes (not in order):
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (12.10.47)
The Most Dangerous Game (10.01.47)
The Heart of Kali (09.25.54)
Border Town (12.13.49)
The Untouchable (09.27.53)
The Fourth Man (04.25.48)
Pollock and the Porroh Man (10.29.47)
A Shipment of Mute Fate (03.13.49)
The Island (07.11.51)
The Red Mark (02.21.50)
Eye of Evil (07.17.54)
I Saw Myself Running (02.22.53)
Leiningen Versus the Ants (08.04.49)
The Country of the Blind (11.26.47)
Other good episodes:
The Abominable Snowman (09.13.53)
The Price of the Head (08.07.54)
The Man With the Steel Teeth (03.15.53)
The Footprint (08.18.50)
Bird of Paradise (03.11.54)
Blood Waters (06.17.54)
Figure a Dame (12.20.49)
Blood Bath (06.30.50)
The Golden Snake (04.14.50)
Judgement Day at Cripple Deer (06.24.54)
Shark Bait (07.14.50)
Two Came Back (08.04.50)
Something for Nothing (04.28.50)
Seeds of Greed (12.27.49)
Violent Night (03.18.54)
When The Man Comes, Follow Him (04.09.49)
Serenade for a Cobra (06.16.50)
This Side of Nowhere (12.03.50)
Beau Geste (06.06.48)
The Scarlet Plague (04.08.54)
Snake Doctor (08.18.49)
The Follower (02.18.51)
Incident in Quito (12.07.52)
Pass to Berlin (05.19.50)
The Adversary (05.06.54)
The Pistol (01.03.50)
Letter from Jason (11.29.49)
The Man Who Liked Dickens (12.21.52)
The Log of the Evening Star (03.14.48)
That is one unattractive, unsympathetic fictional character, that guy in this story. Then there's the story itself! What happened to all the people? A disease is hinted at ( or is it?, or WHAT?), with the dissociative out-take bit about some rats going extinct in a region of Java. So then, where are the bodies of the billions of human dead? The author keeps dancing around with words like "decay," but without specifying bodies, just "cities" and "streets." I try to stay aloft (disbelief in suspension) by pretending the disease killed everyone months ago by now, long enough for even bones to be scattered out of our timid sight, everyone eaten by the animals that didn't die. Or did the animals die, or are there just SOME animals left alive, the same way there are some humans left? Why doesn't one human survivor get around to asking what kept they alone unscathed by the disease so poorly hinted at in the newspapers?
The pro-tag was supposedly alone for a month studying ECOLOGY. Just how long was he alone before the month spent studying ecology? One month swept the world with disease, burials at sea were rushed with cartoon speed, then the ones burying the bodies died too, and the animals gobbled them nearly overnight, so that when down from the forest with his snakebite came out pro-tag, what greeted him was pristine, orderly peoplelessness, which at first he didn't even notice. As the story moves, his snake bite continues to hurt, drowning-at-birth any hope that some weeks and even months have NOW passed to account for the fresh clean absence of people everywhere, gone without a trace.
I can't pretend the remains of multiple millions of dead people have dried up and blown away over time, because the opening protagonist is still feeling pain from his snake bite. This story seems so infatuated with itself and it's determinidly "different" presentation of a same-old-story, so above having to explain anything to us, that there's just nothing in it for me. My annoyance verges on disgust when he slaps the man he found alive, drunk, in a car, hitting him HARD and roaring at him to "WAKE UP!!!," shouting, "What's your name!!! YOUR NAME!!" like some out-of-control cop who never should have been hired for such work. Geee how I wish I could enter the story by magic so Narcississy Egomanny Instant-Authaw'tay Guy could try waking ME up like that! And it fits so poorly, the way he treats that first human he finally sees, a man in a car drunk, not feeling happy excesses of same-species relief at finding each other, no common ordinary instinct ti help the man, stick with him, I mean, what would ANYONE do in this situation? They'ds do anything BUT what our incurious pro-tag slug did.
I love the Escape radio drama adventure sci-fi suspense series, Great, maybe even BEST stories, best actors, I so enjoy Robert Conrad, and good volume with crystal clear sound (found only 1 exception). It's all fun, superior entertainment, even "Earth Abides", in spite of itself. I'm still listening to it. Still following it through its somersaults, trying to grasp it and tie it down so it might behave, think of the audience, and BE a STORY.
February 4, 2018 Subject:
One of the most exciting and entertaining OTR shows available.Well worth your time.
November 30, 2016 Subject:
FIRST - MAY I SAY I will someday donate to keep your work going, right now, I'm having serious financial issues. Since I'm unable to work anymore, I'm willling to DONATE MY TIME, as I listen to classic radio every night, all night, and have for years. I'm a "pseudo expert" on the series "Suspense," for example, and am hearing these Escape episodes for the 2nd and 3rd time. So, I'll offer any help I can.
NOW, on to ESCAPE. A great series, period. I especially enjoy the classic literature adaptations. I would suggest Escape to any 1st time listener, then Suspense next. Enough episodes exist to listen to a different one every night for over three years! Great audio quality, too. Not bad for 60+ years old!
June 30, 2016 Subject:
WOW! The Richfield Oil Co Discs in GREAT SHAPE
ESCAPE from CBS was sustaining. However, some researcher has found the Richfield Oil Co. sponsor discs. They are in mint condition! Previous shows I've heard from other sources were taped and in wretched condition.
SO THANKS!!! This is a marvelous series with excellent stories.
October 24, 2013 Subject:
Great Short Story Anthology
Escape was a fill in program for the summer break of "Suspense". The style is a close relation to Suspense but the shows were mainly taken from the best of short story literature. The cast is composed of radio veterans and future TV performers. All in all a great series, worth the time investment. Some of the series best include:
* 3 Skeleton Key
* Shipment of Mute Fate
* The Country of the Blind
* Leiningen vs The Ants
* The Time Machine
* The Man That Stole The Bible